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First firms sign up for Tasty Jobs recruitment scheme

23 October 2012

The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink has named the first firms to step forward to support a ground-breaking new recruitment initiative designed to help food and drink manufacturing firms attract more local employees and get more young people into the industry.

Meat producer McIntosh Donald, Scottish beef processing company AK Stoddart and chilled seafood producer Blue Earth Foods along with national catering butcher, Fairfax Meadow, and producer of fresh prepared foods and produce Yorkshire Fresh Fruit (part of the Bakkavor group) have all pledged direct support for the Tasty Jobs pilot project which aims to ensure local unemployed people have the right skills, experience and knowledge to be job-ready for vacancies at the companies.

Under the scheme, all candidates who successfully complete the training are guaranteed a job interview. While firms retain selection rights, the vast majority of trainees are expected to secure long-term employment at the company where they have trained.

The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink is now calling on more firms to take part in the pilot programme for Tasty Jobs which starts in October and is intended to put at least 600 currently unemployed local people through pre-employment training that ensures they are both industry-ready and job-ready.

Tasty puts employers in charge of training so potential employees are trained inexactly the skills each individual business needs so that the learners are company and job ready.

Interested businesses should contact Tasty Jobs project manager Faith Castle at f.castle@foodanddrink.nsacademy.co.uk

Each firm taking part commits to host a mix of on-site and classroom training lasting up to six weeks. Candidates train in a “live” environment at company premises but away from main production lines and always under the guidance of Academy trainers.

“There’s no disruption of normal factory routine but all the skills and experience learned will be tailored to the firms that have taken part giving them a much better opportunity to recruit locally,” said Tasty Jobs project manager Faith Castle.

“There’s no cost to participating companies and all the trainees will be there because they want to be. They’ll still receive their normal benefits while training and thanks to the help of the Department for Work and Pensions, they may also have their travel and childcare costs covered.”

Tasty Jobs is designed to give local people the chance to gain the skills and experience that local employers want without any fear of compromising unemployment benefit entitlement

Faith Castle explained: “Our research shows many local unemployed people are wary of taking on the kind of part-time or temporary jobs that build experience and act as a gateway back into work because their benefits are affected. That’s further compounded by the fact that jobs in food and drink manufacturing are simply off the radar of many local young unemployed people.

As a result, many firms in the food sector have had to resort to taking on migrant and temporary workers. In some sectors of the industry, skilled foreign workers now account for over a third of the workforce – higher for some individual firms.

Through Tasty Jobs, we aim to level the playing field by increasing the size of the pool of local people ready, able and willing to step straight onto the job and make a positive impact from their first day.”


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